Simpler, speedier switching for mobile customers

23 March 2016

In the mobile phone sector, switching provider isn’t always easy. It can be a hassle, or awkward, dealing with the provider you’re leaving, and there is a process to navigate.

This deters some people from bothering to switch, and others, who may depend on their phone for business or simply everyday life, are nervous they may ‘fall through the cracks’ in the transition from one network to another.

That’s why Ofcom has today outlined proposals to make it quicker and easier for mobile phone customers to switch provider, in a public consultation.

The document explains Ofcom’s plans to overhaul mobile switching processes, after having conducted in-depth research into the difficulties customers face when changing provider.

Ofcom is consulting on two alternative options. Its preferred option is a simple ‘gaining provider-led’ process for switching. This would place responsibility for the switch, including the transfer of a customer’s mobile phone number, entirely in the hands of their new provider.

Ofcom is also seeking views on an alternative option to simplify the current process, making it quicker and easier for customers to take their mobile number with them when switching.

Ofcom believes that either option would deliver a faster, simpler switch for mobile customers.

A consumer’s switching ‘journey’, under both proposals, is shown below:

Ofcom’s preferred option - mobile switching led by the ‘gaining provider’


Alternative option - automated PAC request


Next steps

Have your say on Ofcom’s switching proposals by responding to the consultation before the 1 June 2016 deadline.

We’ll then consider all available evidence before publishing our final decision in autumn 2016.